The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced on Wednesday that they have evidence suggesting a connection between Turkish-backed armed groups and the Islamic State (ISIS) in the recent attack on Manbij (Minbîj), Syria. The evidence consists of footage and photos showing attackers, who initially identified themselves as tribal fighters, wearing badges associated with ISIS.
The allegations build on previous claims made by Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Commander Mazloum Abdi, who has asserted that Ankara and Damascus are collaborating against Kurdish forces in Syria. This collaboration is evidenced by armed groups fighting against the SDF, seemingly dispatched by Damascus from areas under Syrian government control, and by Turkish forces launching simultaneous attacks on Manbij (Minbîj) and Tal Tamir (Til Temir) as tensions in Deir ez-Zor (Dêrezor) escalated.
“Today, media outlets affiliated with Turkish-backed armed groups have published footage and photos of the terrorists who attacked Manbij. These terrorists have identified themselves as tribal fighters. However, they are seen wearing badges associated with ISIS,” said the SDF in their statement.
Farhad Shami, head of the SDF Media Centre, also took to social media on Wednesday to reinforce these claims. “Media outlets affiliated with Turkish-backed mercenaries have published footage of the so-called tribal fighters who attacked Manbij today. They are wearing badges associated with ISIS, as we previously indicated that they are, in fact, nothing more than al-Nusra and ISIS terrorists,” Shami stated.
The SDF further claims that these individuals are not merely tribal fighters but are actually former members of al-Nusra and ISIS. “As we previously indicated, these so-called tribal fighters are, in reality, former members of al-Nusra and ISIS terrorists. Additionally, they are using vehicles belonging to the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA),” added the SDF. To substantiate their claims, the SDF attached video and photographic evidence to their statement.